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BEALE STREET FESTIVAL - - WORKING IN THE THEATRE SEMINARS
PARTRIDGE FAMILY RETURNS TO TV - - GEFFEN THEATER AWARD
TO KARL MALDEN - -
WORLD SERIES OF POKER - - ASSASSINS ON BROADWAY - - THOMAS WOLFE HOME
RE-OPENS - -
DRAMA LEAGUE AWARDS
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THE BEALE STREET MUSIC
Beale Street in Memphis
If Beale Street could talk, the buzz on the corner would still be about the time a major talent
got into a fight with his old lady in the dressing trailer before the show. Then he got up on stage and played a
number. Suddenly he remembered he was still mad. He left the stage, went and fought with
her some more and then
came back on stage to finish the show.
No doubt about it. The Beale Street Festival in Memphis is one outrageous party. This year the
fun is even more intense, thanks to the 50th Anniversary of Rock and Roll.
Diane Hampton executive vice president of Memphis in May spoke with Broadway To Vegas
about the world class event which takes places April 29-May 2 on four big stages on thirty-three acres.
"There are 62 different acts on three outdoor stages. And, the Blues Tent is a massive indoor
expecting probably about 160,000."
"Memphis In May is a non profit organization that also funds a pretty extensive international
educational program and an international cultural program," she explained. "So, the Beale Street
Festival really assists in funding those activities. We hope for continued expansion - perhaps going
another week-end or expanding another day. Or, expanding to another inside venue. Right now
we take it
year by year."
Festivals are big business and artists can be a demanding lot. Picky, picky diva demands don't
salute. What is on the short list is the feeding trough.
"We have food for the artists," Hampton continued. "We are a Memphis based festival. An
is a little bit different, so we provide them good Southern hospitality. We give them things like
Bar-B-Que and fried chicken. So, a lot of it is our choice."
"The talent budget is right about a million dollars and then to produce the events is all total about
and-a-half million.We do try to make a surplus. We've been very very fortunate but
sometimes the rain can kill you"
ZZ Top - hot licks brought rain
"The biggest problem is when it rains, which it does every year," she laughed and then qualified
statistics. "In 1999 it didn't rain a drop. We had no clue what to do with ourselves! 2000 just
enough of a
shower to cool things down a little bit. 2001 was fine. 2002 was a soaker, but everybody had a
good time. In
2003 it didn't rain a drop until the last. ZZ Top was finishing up on one of the main stages.
they lit the last lick on the guitar and the skies opened."
How does the rain and electric amplification merge?
"The stages are covered. So, there is no immediate danger on the stage. We have the city's
emergency management agency as well as EMTs from the fire department. No performer has ever
needed medical assistance."
"Memphis is the birth place of the blues and home of rock and roll," stated Hampton.
about the locale that was the home to famous blues musicians such as W.C. Handy who wrote the
blues song there in 1909.
"Our Beadle Street Music Festival celebrates that. So, how appropriate that the best of the best is
she said referring to the W.C. Handy Awards taking place the night before the festival and the
of the Handy nominees in the Beale Street Festival.
The 25th W.C. Handy Blues Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 29.
"Those who come to town for The Handy Awards get to go down
to the park the next day and see the nominees perform."
Handy nominees scheduled to perform - so far - include Renee Austin; Eric Bib; Roy Block;
Burkes; Jimmy Burns; Henry Butler; Mickey Champion; Deborah Coleman; Nick Currant and the
Ronnie Earl; Andrea Faye; Sac Harmon and the Mid South Revue; Ellis Hooks; Fruteland
Kight; Bettye LaVette; Mark Lemhouse;
Joe Maher; Nick Moss and the Flip Tops; Maria Muldaur; Charlie Musselwhite; Calvin Owens;
Perkins; Sonny Rhodes; Eddie Shaw;
E.C. Scott; Otis Taylor; and Kim Wilson.
"We have a lot of Handy nominees, a lot of Blues acts such as Little Milton, Buddy Guy and
but there's also Saliva, the Wailers, Journey, the Foo Fighters, Bela Fleck, Indio Girls, George
Parliament/Funkadelic, Charlie Daniels Band, Steve Miller Band, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Chaka
something for every musical taste and every generation," Hampton stressed.
"We've been doing it for now for 27 years and so the logistics are pretty much down pat. It's a big
a 33 acre outdoor municipal festival," Hampton reiterated referring to Tom Lee Park, located at
the corner of Beale
Street and the Mississippi River.
Now, about that rain.
"It's too early to tell this year. Sometimes a weather forecast is not as accurate as we'd like it,"
said the optimist who quickly emphasized, "it's going to be blue skies and sun shine and everybody is
going to have fun."
THOMAS WOLFE BOYHOOD HOME RE-OPENS
Thomas Wolfe home
Considered a National Historical Landmark, the Asheville, N.C.
boyhood home of Thomas Wolfe, burned by an arsonist on July 24, 1998, reopens to the
public this weekend. The 121-year-old 29-room, rambling 6,000-square-foot Queen Anne house, known as Old Kentucky
Home, has been restored after two years of extensive work.
Wolfe, born in Asheville in 1900, became one of America's most famous writers with the 1929
publication of his autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel, a thinly veiled depiction of Asheville
and its residents. A classic of American literature, Look Homeward, Angel has never gone out of
print since its publication in 1929. His reminiscences were so frank and realistic that Look Homeward,
Angel was banned from Asheville's public library for over seven years.
Thomas Wolfe and his mother on porch of their home
Wolfe's mother, Julia, a former teacher with an obsession for real estate, bought the boarding
house - named the Old Kentucky Home - in 1906 and in 1916 enlarged and modernized the house, adding
electricity, additional indoor plumbing, and 11 rooms. In Look Homeward Angel Wolfe
referred to the place as Dixieland.
Notoriously tight, called a "driver of hard bargains" behind her back, she often reused building
materials and settled for cheap materials and even cheaper laborers to work on the 6,000-square-foot, 29-room
Restoration required the recreation of plain woodwork and sometimes skipping a final coat of
plaster to make the home authentic. Artifacts which were damaged in the fire were repaired and
"We wanted people to feel like they're walking on the same floorboards as Thomas Wolfe walked
on," said Steve Hill, the site manager.
It has been renovated to its condition in 1916, the year Wolfe (1900-1938) left to study at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thomas Wolfe died in the prime of his life of
tubercular meningitis on September 15, 1938, only 18 days short of his 38th birthday.
Wolfe's mother lived in the house until her death on December 7, 1945. Four years later her
surviving sons and daughters sold the house to a private organization, the Thomas Wolfe
Memorial Association, and it first opened to the public as a house museum on July 19, 1949. The
association continued to operate the memorial until 1958, when its operation was taken over by
the City of Asheville. On January 16, 1976, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
acquired the property.
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
Raising Helen, a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson, John Corbett and Joan Cusack,
will be the opening picture of the TriBeCa Film Festival on May 1.
Hudson stars as Helen who is living the life she always dreamed of when her carefree lifestyle
comes to a screeching halt. She finds herself responsible for her sister's children aged 15, 10 and 5 years
The film, directed by Garry Marshall, will have its premiere at the TriBeCa Performing Arts Center.
The annual festival, which was begun in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig
Hatkoff, will include more than 150 films and run through May 9.
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received the first Geffen Playhouse Distinction in Theater award at the third annual Backstage at the Geffen fundraising
gala. Tom Hanks presented Malden with the award at the star-studded event co-chaired by
West Wing director Tommy Schoolmate and Emmy-award winning actress Christine Lahti. Stars
performing includes; Annette Bening, Jason Alexander, the Smothers Brothers, Amy Pietz, Debbie Allen,
Beau Bridges, James Farentino, Sharon Lawrence, Peter Bonerz and Jim Burrows.
The Oscar and Emmy award winning actor began his career in the 1930's. Only able to put $300
toward the $900 tuition at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, the director encouraged him to attend for three
months and, if he didn't belong, he'd be told. He proved himself and earned a full scholarship for three years.
Malden won the supporting-actor Oscar for 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire, in which he
opposite Marlon Brando as Blanche DuBois' suitor. He also won the New York Drama Critics Circle
award for playing the role on Broadway. He received an Emmy in 1985 for the miniseries Fatal Vision.
Some of his most memorable movie roles include On the Waterfront with Brando,
Birdman of Alcatraz opposite Burt Lancaster; I Confess with Montgomery Clift; How the
West Was Won; and The Cincinnati Kid.
He co-starred with Michael Douglas in the 1970s detective series The Streets of San
and earned a new legend of fans with his clever American Express traveler's check commercials in
which he cautioned viewers, "Don't leave home without them."
Proceeds from the evening benefit Geffen Playhouse's Annual Fund as well as the Educational
Outreach programs which include a wide-range of free theatrical workshops and performances for
children and their families; student matinee performances of Geffen productions and a touring
production for Los Angeles area students; the CREATE program designed to build
non-traditional theatrical audiences; and Geffen Playhouse Symposiums, which feature spirited
discussions on subjects relating to issues that come to light in Geffen productions.
40th ANNIVERSARY DANCE MAGAZINE
AWARDS will be presented to Jos‚ Manuel Carre¤o, Chuck Davis, Anna Halprin and
Chita Rivera in ceremonies Monday at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER honors Michael Caine at its annual gala tribute, on April 26, in Avery Fisher Hall. Highlights from
his film career will be shown, and actors and directors with whom he has worked will appear onstage. Sir
Michael won Oscars for best supporting actor in 1965 for Hannah and Her Sisters and in 1999 for
Cider House Rules.
Among previous Film Society honorees are Susan Sarandon, Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino,
Mike Nichols, Martin Scorsese, Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood.
is being honored this
March Air Reserve Base (MARB) who paid tribute to entertainment legend during AirFest 2004,
its first air show since 2000. The event was designated "A Tribute to Bob Hope." March Air Field, the site
of Hope's very first show for the troops, had an audience of 2,000 and took place on May 6, 1941 seven
months before Pearl Harbor. The show, Air Corpsmen, aired on NBC's The Pepsodent Show, was
hosted by Hope and sponsored by Pepsodent toothpaste.
Beginning with the show at March Field, Hope went on to entertain troops all over the world for
the next 60 years. In his career he met and entertained all 11 presidents that occupied the White House
between 1940 and 2000. One of the most honored entertainers in the world, Hope received an honorary
knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth and this nation's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal,
presented by President Kennedy.
In 1997, Congress named Hope an honorary U.S. veteran, citing his decades of entertaining
troops around the world. He was the first person to receive that extremely rare distinction. When informed of the
honor, Hope was uncharacteristically serious.
"I've been given many awards in my lifetime," he said, "but to be numbered among the men and
women I admire the most is the greatest honor I have ever received."
A part of the air show's ceremonies included two Missing Man formations. The first formation
was dedicated to those military members who have given their lives for the country. The second Missing Man
formation, flown by five WWII Fighter Warbirds, was dedicated to Bob Hope as a farewell from March
Saturday's event concluded with a USO show, produced by the Bob Hope Hollywood USO
Chapter at LAX.
THE 70th ANNUAL DRAMA LEAGUE AWARDS will take place Friday, May 16th at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.
Kristin Chenoweth will serve as Master of Ceremonies with Hugh Jackson as presenter. Joanna
Gleason, Ray Liotta, Audra McDonald, Denis O'Hare, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Douglas Sills
serving as honorary co-chairs of
the event. The organization is the oldest theatrical institution to give awards and is dedicated to
building theater audiences and supporting artists. CLICK FOR
LIST ON NOMINEES
WORKING IN THE THEATRE
SEMINARS The American Theatre Wing
continues to provide a unique, enlightening, behind-the-scenes theatrical experience with the
ATW Working in the Theatre Seminars. Star-studded panels comprised of Broadway and Off-Broadway's major theatre
personalities will once again provide some of the most entertaining and informative discussions on theatre
The Seminars, created by the late Isabelle Stevenson, are moderated by working professionals.
Developed as a resource for the theatre community. Attendance at the seminars is offered free to theatre students,
members of theatrical unions & guilds, and casts of Broadway and Off-Broadway
Thursday, April 29, 11am-1pm: Performance Seminar followed by Producing New Plays for
Broadway Seminar from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, in Manhattan.
COSTUME INSTITUTE annual gala
la at the Metropolitan Museum of Art takes place April 26. Broadway showman Hugh Jackman
will entertain earlier at the event and Pharrell Williams will perform after dinner, which is being
co-chaired by Ren‚e Zellweger, Jude Law and Vogue's Anna Wintour.
ROUNDABOUT THEATRE'S ANNUAL SPRING GALA takes place April 26 at the Mandarin Oriental in The Big Apple.
Roundabout will honor John Kander and Fred Ebb with its prestigious
Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre. The evening will include special
entertainment by artists including Richard Gere, Liza Minnelli, Alan
Cumming, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera, Jason
Alexander, Victor Garber,
Natasha Richardson, Marin Mazzie,
Debra Monk and Karen Ziemba.
SERENA WILLIAMS the
5-foot-10-inch tennis champ who had added acting to her resume, spotted shopping at the Las Vegas Gucci store located at
the Caesars Palace Forum Shops. Williams was in Sin City last Tuesday for a Marie Claire
magazine photo shoot and interview at Mandalay Bay Hotel.
BINION'S WORLD SERIES OF POKER
Friday, April 22, at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel in Las Vegas hotel with 900 players - double the
number signed up for play last
year - thanks to the popularity of televised poker
Each round lasts 12-16 hours
with players demonstrating patience, discipline and mental gymnastics during the tournament which lasts five
On May 28th the grand prize winner will cash in the chips for a check worth $4 million and be enshrined
on the Horseshoe's Gallery of Champions, joining such titans of the game as Johnny Moss,
Johnny Chan, Puggy Pearson, Stu Ungar, Sailor Roberts, Doyle Brunson and Bobby Baldwin.
Shirley Jones and son open on Broadway and The
Partridge Family returns to television
Shirley Jones to the cast as diva Dorothy
Brock. Jones opens May 7th
along with her son Patrick Cassidy who is also
performing in the show as the character Julian Marsh. They are on board
through August lst.
While on tour in London, David Cassidy
announced that The Partridge Family will stage
a TV comeback. Cassidy, 53, a former Las
Vegas resident who did a turn as star of the
EFX production show said: "The
Partridge Family are coming back and, yes,
I'll be in it."
Cassidy promises to "put a spin on it for a
new generation who haven't seen it or been
a part of it."
The question becomes whether Shirley
Jones, his real life step-mother who played
his mother on the television series, will be
part of the deal.
Patrick was not part of the television
The other original Partridge Family stars, including Danny Bonadue and Susan Dey, are mulling
whether to take part in the new show.
Cassidy will produce the show and help
First broadcast in 1970, the show featured
a family pop group who toured America in
their psychedelic bus.
It ran for four years and turned David
Cassidy into a pop idol.
MY OLD LADY by Israel
Horovitz. The author has called this play his "Valentine to Paris." My Old Lady is set in Paris, where an
American confronts the very French, very determined 90+ year-old Mathilde living in the
apartment he has inherited. Inspired by a real-life incident, the American - determined to finance a new lifestyle
with the profit from its sale - must first negotiate a culture he does not fully understand. Directed by
Brian Russell. Through May 16 at Apple Tree Theatre, in Chicago.
OLD VIC THEATRE has Kevin
Spacey as artistic director. In announcing his theater's new season Spacey took a witty high road regarding
that awkward situation in a London park.
Spacey first told police he had been mugged while walking his dog in a London park and then
recanted, saying he was victim of a con from a young man who stole his cell phone. The double Oscar
winning actor probably wishes he could replay that entire scene. At a press conference to announce the 2004-05
season for The Old Vic the personable actor quipped, "It's not true that David Beckham paid 100,000
pounds to the Old Vic if I took him off the front pages. It's not true and I will text him myself if someone will
lend me their mobile phone."
Spacey's inaugural season at the Old Vic will feature four productions. Spacey will star in two and
direct one. First on board is Cloaca which means sewer in Latin. Written by Dutch playwright
Maria Goos, the plotline involves the middle-age reunion of a group of student friends. Spacey will direct and
Hugh Bonneville, Neil Pearson and Stephen Tompkinson will star.
The Christmas show is a new version of Aladdin with Sir Ian McKellen as Widow
Twankey. National Anthems by Dennis McIntyre, had a premiere in Connecticut in 1988. Spacey was in
the show and bought the production rights. He will stage the play and reprise his role. David Grindley will
The season will end with Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story, with Spacey in the role of
Dexter Haven. Serious rumors predict Spacey brings in a Hollywood marquee name for the role of Tracy
Spacey is currently in post-production on Beyond the Sea, a film about the life of
legendary American singer Bobby Darin. Spacey produced, directed and stars in the film, his dream project
for more than 10 years. It will be released in the autumn.
By Oliver Goldstick. Starring Yvette Freeman, who reprises her Obie-Award winning role as
Dinah Washington. Joining Freeman in this musical biography of the legendary singer are Paul
Avedisian, Darryl Alan Reed, Peter Van Norden and Sybyl Walker.
Dinah Washington was the self-described Queen of the Blues. Dinah Was explodes with
the rhythms, tough breaks and tender notes of What a Difference a Day Makes, I Wanna Be
Loved and Come Rain or Come Shine, spanning 20 years along the rocky path of fame of the brilliant
In the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Previews begin April 27 with the official opening on
April 30th. Performances through May 23. Long Beach, California.
ASSASSINS Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Book by John Weidman.
Directed by Joe Mantello.
Nobody does dark like Sondheim. Assassins is unnerving,
disconcerting and - fascinating. It's not for everybody. A certainly is that you'll leave the theater
discussing the show.
With only seven songs in the production this could almost be called a play with music - a drama
about nine people who attempted or succeeded in assassinating an American president.
Besides being talented, Sondheim is persistent. It's taken him 13 years to get this mounted on
Broadway. It premiered in 1991 at Playwrights Horizons where it was a hot ticket that received
cold reviews. The Gulf War didn't help, either. Just when it was going to open on Broadway -
9/11 happened and the production was postponed, primarily because Nixon's would-be assassin,
Samuel Byck, dressed in a Santa suit, plans to do the deed by crashing his plane into the White
Sondheim's score is haunting - the lyrics powerful and provocative. Lighting Design by Peggy
Eisenhauer and Jules Fisher deserve special mention.
Weidman was given a difficult task - that of verbally interweaving the creepy misfits into
surreal, emotional interaction.
Set in an amusement arcade's shooting gallery, Mantello expertly directs the superb cast;
Becky Ann Baker as Sara Jane Moore. James Barbour as Leon Czolgosz. Mario Cantone as
Samuel Byck. Michael Cerveris as John Wilkes Booth. Mary Catherine Garrison as Lynette
"Squeaky" Fromme. Alexander Gemignani as John Hinkley. Neil Patrick Harris as the balladeer
and Lee Harvey Oswald. Marc Kudisch as the proprietor. Jeffrey Kuhn as Guiseppe Zangara.
Denis O'Hare as Charles Guiteau.
Musical Staging by Jonathan Butterell.
Set Design by Robert Brill.
Costume Design by Susan Hilferty. Sound Design by Dan Moses Schreier.
Certain to be a Tony Award contender, this show is not for children or individuals who are easily
upset. Loud gunshots permeate and punctuate. At Roundabout
Theatre's Studio 54 in New York City.
SIXTEEN WOUNDED by
Eliam Kraiem. Directed by Garry Hynes and starring Judd Hirsch, Omar Metwally and Martha
Plimpton, centering on the friendship of a Holocaust survivor and a Palestinian militant, to close
today, Sunday, having played 27 previews and 12 performances at the Walter Kerr
KATHY BRIER who stars as Tracy
Turnblad in the Broadway production of Hairspray will leave the hit musical on May 2nd, along with
her co-star Harvey Fierstein. Brier, who recently received a Daytime Emmy Nomination for her role on
ABC-TV's One Life To Live will continue on the show as well as appear as a recurring character on
Playhouse Disney's Jo Jo's Circus, in which she is the voice of Babalulu.
brings her Broadway show to the Gieglud Theatre in London for 18 performances only, from May
The Tony Award winning singer is accompanied on piano by Wally Harper, her longstanding
musical director and arranger.
In between songs, Cook reminisces about Broadway, including delightful anecdotes on such stars
as Gary Cooper, Elaine Stritch and Leonard Bernstein.
A live recording of the show in Broadway is due to be released this summer and Cook returns to
New York for another 23 performances in June.
TONY BENNETT on stage Friday at
Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. On Saturday he's down the road at Grand Casino Tunica in Robinsonville,
STING continues his European tour.
On Wednesday the show is at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. Friday finds the singer at
Stockholm Globe Arena in Stockholm. On Saturday he can be enjoyed at the Oslo Specktrum in Oslo,
Norway and next Sunday, May 2, the performance is at the Forum in Copenhagen, Denmark.
ERIC CLAPTON is across the pond
with a show Monday at the S.E.C.C. in Glasgow. On Tuesday he's on stage at Telewest Arena in Newcastle.
Thursday the show is at the Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester and on Friday he's in the
spotlight at the NEC Arena in Birmingham, England.
PAULA POUNDSTONE telling funny
stories Friday at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. Saturday the laughs will come from the Inter-Media
Arts Center in Huntington, N.Y. Next Sunday she is at the Montage Grille in Rochester, N.Y.
MICHAEL FEINSTEIN entertaining
Friday at the Strand-Capitol Theatre in York, PA. On Saturday he's on stage at the Veterans Memorial
Auditorium in Providence, R.I.
BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS May lst
at the Newberry Opera House in Newberry, South Carolina.
RAY STEVENS entertaining Saturday
at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
PETER CINCOTTI on stage Saturday
at Christopher Newport University at Newport News, VA.
JOHN PRINE in the spotlight Friday
at Rose State College in Oklahoma City, OK. On Saturday he perform at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita,
DAVID BOWIE entertains this
evening, April 25 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. On Tuesday the ageless performer is at The
Backyard in Austin, Texas. Thursday finds him in the spotlight at the C.W. Mitchell Pavilion in The
Woodlands, Texas and on Friday he'll be delighting the crowds at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
SEAL opens a two nighter , Monday,
at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA. On Wednesday he's on stage at the Viegas Dreamcatcher
Showroom in Alpine, CA. Friday the singer stars at The Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA. He closes out the
week, Saturday, at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, AZ.
ROZ ABRAMS intelligent news
veteran we always watch during New York visits, was a delightful, lovely looking presence on WABC/Ch 7.
She left the station, returning to the airwaves on WCBS-2 with a really glam make-over. All
Broadway To Vegas has to say is - You go, girl!
Next Column: May 2, 2004
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